National Spotlight On Chiefs Players

If the bright TV lights got in their eyes during the off week, the 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs didn't show it when they returned to work Monday to begin the second half of what to date has been a made-for-TV dream season.

The appearances on Letterman and the two network Sunday pre-game shows was fun and all, but the Chiefs seemed to put their new-found fame behind them quickly as they went through a 2 1/2-hour workout that began their preparations for Sunday's home game with Cleveland.

"We all understand why we're getting the attention we're getting," said Dante Hall, whose spent part of last Thursday catching punts launched from the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theatre at the behest of David Letterman.

"The Letterman show, the pre-game shows -- all of that is a by-product of the hard work we put in on the field," Hall added. "That just makes you want to come back and work that much harder. Because if we weren't 8-0, no one -- not Tony (Gonzalez, a Fox network guest Sunday) or Trent (Green, a CBS pre-game guest) or me -- would get those opportunities.

"It makes you want to come back and finish our unfinished business. It's easy to come back to work when you're 8-0."

And the Chiefs were nothing but business upon returning to the practice field Monday.

"It was really beyond my expectations," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said of the first workout of the season's second half. "I thought with the amount of time they'd been given off (an entire week) that they might be sluggish today. But they worked very hard and I was very pleased.

"I think they know why they are where they are," Vermeil added. "Today's practice was a reflection of that. We took a pit stop, we refueled and put on some new tires, and now we've got to come out of the pits running."

Especially if the Chiefs want to win the battle for home-field advantage in the playoffs. For right on their bumper at 7-1 is Indianapolis after its hard-fought Sunday win at Miami.

Asked how many games an AFC contender should plan to win to assure the home-field edge in the playoffs, Vermeil immediately responded with "16."

"I'm serious," he said. "You can't start thinking it's all right to lose two or three. So all we've got to do right now is win one in a row (beginning with Cleveland). I'd be shocked if this team isn't focused on that." Top Stories